More employers offering stress management programs
It’s no surprise that employees are increasingly feeling stressed. But what may be more surprising is the extent of damage that stress is causing both the employee and the employer.
Today, 78% of employers think stress is an issue among their employees, says Jan Bruce, CEO and co-founder of Boston-based meQuilibrium, a digital coaching platform. Employers are seeing the manifestation of stress in several ways, including lowered engagement, increased absence, lowered productivity and wellness programs with low participation and low success rates.
Considering those factors, it makes sense that employers are beginning to realize it’s time they do something about employee stress.
Enter resilience building and mindfulness training programs — a hot benefit trend you may not have heard much about.
The programs aim to help people determine root causes of stress, and then train them to alter the way they think about those stressors. It can be an important benefits offering as these programs attempt to offer a long-term solution for stress rather than quick fixes, says meQuilibrium, one of the providers of such providers.
“We’ve got a sea change in the prevalence of stress in the workplace, and EAP and behavioral programs only scratch the surface of in terms of utilization,” Bruce says. “So, more and more employers are turning to a resilience solution as a foundation for their health, wellness and human capital management programs.”
We’ve got a sea change in the prevalence of stress in the workplace, and EAP and behavioral programs only scratch the surface of in terms of utilization.
Buck Consultants reports that resilience is the fastest growing U.S. employer-sponsored well-being program, with 22% of employers already offering resilience-building programs and 28% planning to do so. The National Business Group on Health also points to its growing popularity, saying its own survey data finds that improving resiliency and reducing stress is among the top five behaviors employers say they are focused on in 2016.
Of course, that sentiment is also shared by meQuilibrium, which backs up the success of its resilience programs with newly released data. The data examines answers from 2,000 employees who took part in the company’s proprietary resilience assessment.
The findings, meQuilibrium says, underscore that employers who work to improve resilience within their employee base will develop a “more engaged, healthy and productive workforce.”
More specifically, key findings of the data include:
• Stress: Highly resilient workers have 46% less perceived stress than low resilience workers.
• Absenteeism: Compared to highly resilient workers, twice as many employed individuals with low resilience have reported one to three absences in the past month.
• Intent to quit: Individuals with low resilience are twice as likely as those with high resilience to quit in the next six months.
• Job satisfaction: Four times as many highly resilient workers are highly satisfied with their jobs, compared to those with resilience scores in the bottom quartile.
• Physical health: Employees with low resilience are more than twice as likely to be overweight and twice as likely to report a hospital stay in the past year.
The survey results, Bruce says, are proof that resilience has a “measurable, proven effect” on employers’ bottom line. “Resilience isn’t just a nice-to-have, but a foundational business imperative because having a happier, less stressed, more engaged and focused workforce delivers higher productivity, lower healthcare costs, less absenteeism — and better overall financial performance,”she says, adding that both employers and employees are noticing results when using the platform.
“For employers, they see the science-based, comprehensive solution as a foundation for health and wellness, with personalized impact and high engagement rates,” she says. “For employees, they find it highly customized, helping them manage their thoughts and feelings that keep them from desired, thriving behaviors and productivity. It’s also convenient, private, 24/7 and calibrates to each person based on our assessment and profiling tool.”
Andrew Gold, VP, total rewards and HR innovations at Pitney Bowes, says he’s seen firsthand how using the meQuilibrium platform has made a difference to his company’s employees.
“When looking at benefits for our employees, it was important for us to address not only their physical health but also their personal well-being and we found that integrating resilience training really made a positive impact,” Gold says. “Our employees have seen an improvement in their ability to handle workplace stresses and be more productive as a result.”